When Nathaniel Woodruff was born in 1718, in Elizabethtown, Union, New Jersey, United States, his father, Timothy Woodruff Sr., was 35 and his mother, Mary Baker, was 30. He married Mary in 1738, in Elizabethtown, Union, New Jersey, United States. They were the parents of at least 2 sons and 2 daughters. He died on 19 January 1777, in Elizabeth, Union, New Jersey, United States, at the age of 59, and was buried in First Presbyterian Churchyard, Elizabeth, Union, New Jersey, United States.
English: from Middle English woderove ‘woodruff, sweet woodruff’ (Old English wudurofe), a sweet-scented plant. The leaves of the plant have a sweet smell and the surname may also have been a nickname for one who used it as a perfume, or perhaps an ironical nickname for a malodorous person. Alternatively, perhaps a topographic name for someone who lived at or near a place where woodruff grew. There may have been some confusion with Woodrow .
History: Two English families brought the name Woodruff to the American colonies: those of Matthew Woodruff and of John and Ann Woodruffe. The latter migrated to Lynn, MA, from Kent, and moved to Southampton, Long Island, NY, before 1640. John and Ann's many descendants were established in NJ, NC, and SC by 1790. The city of Woodruff, SC, is named for this family. The name is variously spelled Woodrove, Woodroffe, Woodruffe, Woodrough, and Woodruff in colonial records.
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